23-year-old transgender Latina of Puerto Rican, Italian & African American descent. Nikole was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. She is connected to Orlando’s LGBTQ community as someone who worked for a short time at Pulse and as a frequent attendee of the nightclub, especially Saturday’s Latin Night, and two of Nikole’s friends were directly impacted by the Pulse Tragedy which motivates her to make a difference. At the age of 19, Nikole left her job and home to fully transition into a woman after facing rejection from her family for simply living as her full authentic self at home. After two and a half years of black market hormones, unsafe lifestyles practices and many more hardships just to transition, Nikole changed course and landed a 9-5 job. At 22, Nikole created and coordinated a Mentoring Program for a mental health counseling facility. At the age of 23, she was promoted to Office Manager / Director of Human Resources. Nikole wants all LGBTQ individuals, especially transgender youth, to know that you can do anything you put your heart and mind to.
Nikole has always wanted to help her community and her dream is to one day open a resource center to raise transgender awareness and assist transgender individual’s transition correctly with the help of counseling, mentoring, legal support, medical references, and more. She wishes people from her community will not have to take the difficult path she did, particularly using black market hormones or falling into unsafe lifestyles to transition. Nikole wants to incorporate and center mental health and wellness into the work she leads, especially in the Latinx community because talking to a counselor in Latinx and other ethnic minority populations is often stigmatized – “you keep family business in the family”. Now that the LGBTQ community is so widely talked about, this is the moment and opportunity to encourage families starting their journey of acceptance for an LGBTQ family member by letting them know they are not alone and can receive counseling, resources, and help.